Banking giant in plan to create 200 jobs

24 Aug 2007

The Herald, by Gerry Braiden

One of Europe's leading financial institutions is expected to create several hundred new jobs in Glasgow.

Fortis, the Belgian banking giant, has concluded a deal to establish a new office in the city's International Financial Services District (IFSD).

Although the firm is reluctant to provide exact figures, sources claim the expansion could bring a potential 200-plus highly-skilled jobs to the burgeoning financial zone.

Fortis, one of Europe's top 20 financial institutions with an international workforce of 60,000, has acquired three floors in a new 12-storey office block directly opposite the Skypark complex in Finnieston, just west of the city centre.

The company's UK headquarters are currently based in the same area, on Hydepark Street, Glasgow, where a staff of 100 are employed. It is expected this staff will combine in the new location.

Fortis set up in 2003 after attending the formal launch of the IFSD and since then the workforce has doubled.

Fortis is also part of a consortium along with the Royal Bank of Scotland and Banco Santander bidding for Dutch banking giant ABN Amro. The potential expansion linked with the bid is understood to be a factor in the move.

The firm had been working with Scottish Enterprise Glasgow and Scottish Development International on the proposed expansion, with senior officials from Fortis HQ in Brussels visiting the city to inspect proposed locations.

Gerry Moon, of Fortis UK, said: "With the expansion opportunities anticipated over the next three years there is a requirement for additional office accommodation and we're delighted to extend the relationship with our existing landlord by moving to a new development in Finnieston Street."

A Fortis spokeswoman added: "It's impossible to put a figure on how many jobs could be created. But the company has expanded rapidly since 2003 when it acquired Bank Austria."

The IFSD now has around 14,000 people working within it and is well on target to achieve its aim of providing 20,000 jobs by 2011.

Last month US financial giant Morgan Stanley, which has 1300 staff in Glasgow, announced that it was to base 600 more employees there.

Direct Line and esure Insurance both have more than 1000 staff in the area, which also includes American firms JP Morgan and First Data, French bank BNP Paribas, ACE Insurance, Barclays Wealth, moneyQuest and Shell.

Barclays, which has had a presence in Glasgow since 1986, recently made a commitment to increase staff at its Glasgow base by another 500 staff.

Stuart Patrick, operations director at Scottish Enterprise Glasgow, said: "The prospect of further jobs potentially moving into the IFSD is continuing a very positive trend this summer.

"Over the past few months we have helped more than 1400 new finance jobs locate to the city. Glasgow can now really count itself as a major player in the UK's finance sector."

Debbie Mackie, director of growing business at Scottish Enterprise Glasgow, said companies were now more attracted to Glasgow because there was a designated financial services district which was recognised.

She said: "All the companies talk of the availability of high-quality staff, an excellent education system, links with the universities and generally a first class service sector workforce.

"On top of that businesses have been able to find Grade A accommodation in terms of the location of their office buildings.

"Restaurants, bars and housing have all been developed as the office buildings have gone up."

Fortis, along with its consortium partners, wants to acquire the vast bulk of ABN's global corporate banking and financial markets activities, and operations in Asia, as part of its bid. RBS's share of the deal would be about 16bn euros.

 

Reproduced with the permission of The Herald (Glasgow) © Newsquest (Herald & Times) Ltd.

  • View from the south bank of the IFSD on the Broomielaw

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